Judges' Bios - National Book Awards, 2008


Gail Godwin (chair) was a three time National Book Award Finalist in Fiction: 1975 for The Odd Woman ; 1980 for Violet Clay; 1983 for A Mother and Two Daughters . Her latest novel is Queen of the Underworld.

Rebecca Goldstein, her latest novel is Thirty-Six Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction.

Elinor Lipman, her latest novel is My Latest Grievance.

Reginald McKnight is a short story writer and novelist, whose most recent work is He Sleeps.

Jess Walter, a 2006 National Book Award Finalist in Fiction for The Zero.


Marie Arana (chair), a 2001 National Book Award Finalist in Nonfiction for American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood.

Farah Jasmine Griffin, a professor and author, her latest book, written with Salim Washington, is Clawing at the Limits of Cool: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the Greatest Jazz Collaboration Ever.

Russell Jacoby, a historian and author, whose most recent book is Picture Imperfect: Utopian thought for an Anti-Utopian Age.

Megan Marshall, a professor and author, whose most recent book is the biography The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism.

Kevin Starr, a 2006 National Humanities Medal recipient, whose most recent book is California: A History.


Robert Pinsky (chair), a former Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, his most recent poetry collection is Gulf Music: Poems.

Mary Jo Bang, professor and the author of five poetry collections, her most recent book was Elegy.

Kimiko Hahn is the author of seven collections of poetry, including The Narrow Road to the Interior.

Tony Hoagland is an award winning poet of three poetry collections. His latest publication is Hard Rain.

Marilyn Nelson is a three time Finalist for the National Book Awards, twice for poetry, in 1997 for The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems, and again in 1991 for The Homeplace; again in 2001 in Young People’s Literature for Carver: A Life in Poems.

Young People's Literature

Daniel Handler (chair), best known for his work under the pen name Lemony Snicket. His latest book is Adverbs.

Holly Black, is best known for her series, The Spiderwick Chronicles. Her latest book is The Nixie's Song (Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles).

Angela Johnson’s most recent book is The First Part Last, which won the 2004 Coretta Scott King Award (Writing Category) and won the 2004 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature.

Carolyn Mackler’s most recent teen novel is Guyaholic : The Story of Finding, Flirting, Forgetting... And the Boy Who Changes Everything.

Cynthia Voigt was a 1982 National Book Award Finalist in Children’s Books, Fiction (Hardcover) for her novel Homecoming. Her most recent novel is Bad Girls, Bad Girls, Whatcha Gonna Do?